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Fires ravage residential properties in Clinton Township

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 14, 2015

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township firefighters have experienced an uptick in action recently.

Township Fire Marshal Ron Young said the Fire Department was called to a residential house fire on Sept. 30 on Ehrke Street near 19 Mile and Garfield roads.

Young said a woman was on her way to take her children, ages 3 and 8, to tutoring sessions when a fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom.

The home, which is a duplex, was inhabited by the woman’s brother who lives downstairs. He was reportedly not injured.

The Fire Department did not know what caused the blaze until Oct. 5, after an insurance company hired an electrical engineer and determined that a high-resistance connection was the probable cause of the incident.

Young mentioned that every duplex has some sort of electrical connection. The one in that specific house caused a fire in one corner of the bedroom.

“It’s where the electrical wire plugs into your duplex, whether you plug in through the back or with a screw and tighten it down,” Young said. “Over time it degrades and iodizes and stuff. Over time it gets so hot the temperature is known to go over 1,200 degrees and high enough to start a fire.”

Another fire occurred nearly one week later, on Oct. 6, on Harmony Street between Moravian Drive and Groesbeck Highway.

The residence was in a mobile home park.

Young said a family of five — a mother and four children — lived in the residence. The mom sent the kids off to school around 8:45 a.m. Shortly thereafter, neighbors noticed smoke bellowing out of the home.

The mother was sleeping inside and neighbors eventually woke her by pounding on the door. She was then able to escape.

The fire did not seem to be incendiary, Young said, although the cause was unknown at press time.

No injuries were suffered by anyone involved.

“That (homeowner) would have been in trouble if the neighbors didn’t wake her up. She may have lost her life,” Young said.

As for the residence, Young described it as “pretty much a total loss.” The home was being boarded up in the late afternoon on the day of the fire, and the family had lost just about everything.

As part of a more recent program executed by the Clinton Township Fire Department and local businesses, the displaced family will receive some aid while they figure out their next step.

The “Resident Rescue Packet” includes a $200 Meijer gift card that can be used to purchase amenities like food, toiletries and clothing. It cannot be used for tobacco, alcohol or lottery tickets. Also part of the packet is a one or two-night stay at The Concorde Inn, located off of Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township. Families also receive contact information for The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.